Mayweather vs Paul Fight: The notion of this Sunday’s boxing spectacle between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Logan Paul didn’t begin because there was an obvious title at stake, or as the natural culmination of a long-simmering rivalry, but as an out-of-nowhere suggestion.
Paul and his manager, Jeff Levin, were hanging out in the garage of Paul’s suburban Los Angeles home late last year when Levin asked Paul, a YouTube star, whether he’d like to fight Mayweather, the retired welterweight champion. Paul, whose boxing experience includes two bouts against a fellow YouTuber (one as a pro), figured Levin wasn’t serious. Yet by early December, Levin presented a contract and Paul had a deal to meet Mayweather in a live-streamed sparring session at Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas.
Of course, that agreement wasn’t quite fitting.
It involved Paul, a professional social media self-promoter, who has more than 42 million followers combined on YouTube and Instagram.
It also involved Mayweather, the protagonist in some of the largest-grossing bouts in boxing history. His last bout, against Conor McGregor, drew a reported 4.3 million pay-per-view buys in 2017. Two years earlier, his fight against Manny Pacquiao did 4.6 million buys.
And it is happening in 2021, in an era where high-profile novelty fights involving retired boxers, ball players and social media celebrities have thrust themselves into the sports schedule.
Sunday’s card will feature an undercard bout with the former N.F.L. player Chad Johnson, and the main event pits Mayweather, who has won titles in five weight classes, against Paul, who is 0-1 in sanctioned bouts.
Attracting attention is second nature for Mayweather and Paul. Their exhibition fight, in turn, figures to generate pay-per-view buys for Showtime, which is selling the bout for $49.99.
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